“Scream Queens” Pledges A Killer Debut (TV Review)

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During the night of partying at the Kappa sorority house, the fun is cut short by the death of one of the sisters, leaving behind the child she just birthed. Flash forward to present time when it is time for Kappa to select new pledges. This time Kappa is ruled by the feisty and vicious Chanel (Emma Roberts). She, along with her henchwomen, Chanel #2 (Ariana Grande), Chanel #3 (Billie Lourd), and Chanel #5 (Abigail Breslin). However, Dean Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis) is putting her foot down, disgusted by the behavior of the sorority, she enforces Chanel to accept ANY pledge. Enter our main girl Grace (Skyler Samuels), who plans to join the sorority in hopes gaining some closeness to the mother she never met. Grace, along with her roommate Zayday (Keke Palmer), plus other pledges begin their hell week. But someone is bringing a new meaning to the term. A killer dressed as the school mascot the Red Devil has a score to settle with the Kappa sorority, and everyone is a target.

Following the Scream tv series, we get the heavily promoted new show from Ryan Murphy. In its first night, we were treated to a two hour long premiere. And what a hell of a fun two hours it was. Scream Queens has the meta aspects of Scream, the parody of Scary Movie, and the teen flare of Heathers and Mean Girls. Both of the two episodes were very self aware of itself in the situation the characters find themselves in and how it fits into horror scenarios, but it doesn’t beat you over the head with it. The dialogue is extremely witty and entertaining, and features many horror feats that leave it pretty clear that Murphy has done his homework. Along with this we get very creative kills (let me just say we had just about the same amount of kills in this premiere that Scream had in the whole season). This doesn’t ruin things for it though since we are left we plenty of characters who can still bite it. It’s also a show that could easily get away with having an episode or two without a kill because it won’t focus on pointless drama. Let it be known that this is a straight up horror-comedy. Anything you may find “stupid” about it was there for a purpose. While the kills were very solid, it is the dialogue that really sells the show. The dialogue written for the characters fits them so well and the actors portraying them have their characters pegged. Given with how much we received in these first two episodes, it’s very clear we are in for a treat. I’m expecting even more great kills, some pretty good twists, and most of all, the fact that everyone at this point is fair game.

As far as the cast goes, they all do a tremendous job. The biggest shout outs go to Emma Roberts who (as displayed on American Horror Story: Coven), nails the role of the bitch. But this time around it is much more amped up compared to her character Madison on AHS. She encompasses the nastiness and snarkiness of Jessica in Sorority Row, and the over-the-top bitchiness and overreactions of Regina George in Mean Girls. There really isn’t anyone who could have done the part better than Roberts. Everything that comes out of her mouth had me laughing like a maniac. Next there is Niecy Nash as the campus security guard Denise. Nash gets the next amount of laughs following Roberts. While Nash does get her over-the-top moments, she really is the voice of reason of all the characters. She knows when someone is doing something stupid, calls them out on it, and knows when to haul ass. She gets just as many great one-liners as well.

Finally, there is the incredible Jamie Lee Curtis. Every horror fan knows her as the innocent victim Laurie Strode, but on Scream Queens, Curtis is essentially the anti-Laurie Strode. She’s a hard core bitch who smokes pot and sleeps around with students. Overall it’s a side of Jamie Lee we haven’t seen in general. And of course she nails the role to the point where you can hardly believe this was once shy and virginal Laurie, but you can’t wait to see what the character and Curtis has left up her sleeve. Skyler Samuels is also worth noting as our main girl. Essentially she’s the basic heroine we expect. The kind-hearted, innocent, awkward girl. And that’s it. Not really anything special, just your cardboard cut out final girl. I personally didn’t care for her for that reason, if she had more of an edge to her, I’d like her more. But overall, she’s not unlikable either, and Samuel does bring some realism to the role and some likability despite my sentiments about the character overall. Keke Palmer provides some sass as Grace’s roommate. While Palmer does deliver some comical lines, you do get the stereotypical black girl behavior that is eye-roll worthy. We are also treated to Lea Michele as the backbraced Hester. Initially she’s the dork who more or less keeps to herself with occasional mumbling to herself as well. But then we see she knows a thing or two about murder. And how to hide a body. Unlike the annoying character she played on Glee, Michele has more to work with. She can go off on a crazy girl rant, but then switch into this childlike innocence in a flash. The rest of the cast does a good job, but nothing really stand out yet. However there is still time.

Scream Queens is the slasher show that the subgenre needed. It brings a breath of fresh air by trying to relive the days of Scream and classic teen hits. And it succeeds through and through. This is thanks to massively engaging characters and dialogue, an excellent mystery/whodunit, and very clever kills. Ryan Murphy has struck gold more than ever with this in his writing in the perfect blend of horror and comedy. And with the talented cast behind this with their excellent performances thus far, I can only imagine it getting better from here-on-out.

–Cody Landman

4teddy

The Season For Slashing: “Dismembering Christmas” DVDs Now Shipping

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The slasher season has begun!! Last week we started our preorder for our limited edition, hand numbered Dismembering Christmas Blu-ray and now we have our DVDs available for shipping. Get yours early because it won’t be available anywhere else until the October 13th release date.

Three options for preorder! We have the DVD for $15, the DVD with 11×17 poster for $20, or the DVD with poster & full length soundtrack for $25. Get yours today and get in the Christmas carnage spirit!

Extras include:
Audio commentary with Actor/Director Austin Bosley
Audio commentary with Writer/Producer Kevin Sommerfield
Cast/Crew Bloopers
Fly on the Set: Making Of Dismembering Christmas
Theatrical Trailer
Teaser Trailer


Dismembering Christmas DVD




Zom-Com “Cooties” (2015) Is Well Worth Catching

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When a down on his luck writer named Clint (Elijah Wood), moves back to his hometown, he thinks he’s hit a huge slump. He accepts a substitute teaching job at the local elementary school for extra cash. It is there that he crosses paths with his high school crush Lucy (Alison Pill), and her confrontational boyfriend Wade (Rainn Wilson), as well as the vicious children that attend the school. As if the day hasn’t already started off as a disaster, the children become infected by a virus that turn them even more vicious and hungry for flesh. Clint and the remaining faulty members must ban together to escape the school and fight against the growing swarm of little monsters.

Cooties is the latest horror-comedy that manages to successfully do its job. It can be considered a semi-parody of Dawn of the Dead by having it take place in the school and the zombies being the children. The film runs at just under 90 minutes, and in turn moves at a very quick pace. Although sometimes too quick, but not too often. We are introduced to our characters in a timely matter right before the major chaos takes place (around the 15 minute mark). When the events do unfold we are given plenty of time to know the characters, who for the most part are very entertaining and likable. The laughs are present throughout the whole film, one moment that really had me going involves a zombie attack and the characters acknowledging a faculty member they had no idea who they were (true to life right?). Of course there are occasional raunchy jokes, but more often than not the laughs are very genuine and actually involve the interactions of the characters themselves and combining their personalities. So in the comedy department it massively succeeds. When it comes to the horror, it very much delivers everything you want from a zombie film, vicious and bloody kills, and a different take on zombies. It even features some pretty dark and mean spirited humor that contributes well to the horror of it. While it definitely delivers as far as laughs and horror, the film unfortunately moves a bit too fast towards the end, when it was over I felt like it was unfinished in the respect that they could have done so much more to lengthen it. Even if it was setting itself up for a sequel, it didn’t work with the way they did it. When it does reach the final act and things speed up, it also at the same time loses the momentum it had by having constant entertainment.

As far as the cast goes, they all do an incredible job. Elijah Wood shows just how well he can do comedy, and he plays almost the same character he did in The Faculty, but with much a lot of humor. He’s the unlikely hero that doesn’t exactly rise to victory, but comes off as a real person thrust into a situation he has no idea how to really handle. Rainn Wilson of course is hilarious as the gym teacher who is basically his character from The Office but amped up much more. Alison Pill also provides some good comedic moments as the quirky and free-spirited love interest of Wood’s character. Finally there is Leigh Whannell (known for his Saw and Insidious fame), who plays the nerdy science teacher and massively impresses in comedy territory after stepping out of the straight up horror genre, leaving me personally wanting to see him do more comedy films in the future. In general, the cast all has great chemistry and play off of each other really well and easily show they’re having a fun time filming.

Cooties is easily the best horror-comedy I’ve seen in a long time. It unfortunately didn’t get the same release platform as Zombieland (which I would easily rank Cooties up there with), but I hope it finds a strong cult following in time. It provides everything a horror comedy should. Big laughs, great story, gory kills, and solid cast and characters. While it does move too fast for its own good in the end, it’s still a great way to spend an hour and half.

Cooties is playing in limited theaters and can be rented on iTunes.

3.5

–Cody Landman

Slasher Studios Horror Podcast: Best/Worst Nightmare on Elm Street Deaths

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On a brand new episode of Slasher Studios Horror Podcast, our hosts Kevin Sommerfield & Andrew Beirl will be counting down their favorite and least favorite deaths from the Nightmare on Elm Street series. They will also be discussing Horrorhound Weekend and their newest slasher, Dismembering Christmas. The bloody fun begins tonight at 10PM central.

Slasher Studios Horror Podcast: Best/Worst Nightmare on Elm Street Deaths

Home Sweet Home: “The Visit” (2015) Review

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When Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and her little brother Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) take the initiative to visit their grandparents, despite their mother (Kathryn Hahn) being estranged from them for years, they look forward to getting to know them. When the children arrive, things between them and their Nana (Deanna Dunagan) and Pop Pop (Peter McRobbie) are everything they hoped it would be. However, as their visit progresses, their grandparents begin to show some very unsettling behavior. At first they brush it off and blame old age, but the behavior begins to grow more and more disturbing.

In the newest film by M. Night Shyamalan, he returns to the horror genre ever since the not-so-favorable The Happening in 2008. This time he is taking the step of combining comedy with horror. The trailer portrayed the film as being a horror film, but featuring tidbits of comedy. It was an interesting approach and definitely caught my attention, but I was still going to go in with low expectations (despite enjoying certain disliked Shyamalan films). As the film began it did have some great promise to it by easing us into the world of the characters and going with as little knowledge of the grandparents as they did. It starts off light-hearted enough with quirky grandparents/grandchildren moments that bring laughs. When the events turn and things become dark, this also manages to keep your attention, while at first not thinking quite too much at first. Some of the creepier moments emit laughter that is purely out of unease (particularly the great hide and seek scene, which I was hoping the setting there would have come into play later). Then, as things escalate you begin to feel more nervous about this couple. It all leads to a very thrilling final act that leave you on edge as to what is just going to happen.

However, this is where the good things I have to say about the plot comes to an end. I knew going in that this wasn’t going to be a straight up horror film. and that it featuring a good amount of comedy. I am all for horror comedies or dark humor in horror films, but the comedy here just felt so out of place and confused the plot and flow of the story. I appreciated most of the comedic aspects, but there was a line that I thought should have been drawn where the comedy ends and the actual horror begins. Instead, it becomes an unbalanced mess that almost makes it seem as if Shyamalan had no idea what exactly he wanted the film to be. I would go so far as to say that the comedy ruined the horror elements. If this would have been more of a horror film with just small dashes of comedy, it would have been much more affective. The last two scenes I also want to add brought down the film a lot. If those would have been axed the ending would have better. The plot also drowns in too much family mellow drama that made me want to barf. The film would also have benefitted much more if it only had traces of the documentary style footage but was mostly a regular format production and would have faired better with a good and creepy score.

As far as the cast goes, they all do a fine job. Although I personally didn’t care for either of the children at all due to both of them being really annoying and often times stupid, the two young actors do a fine job with the roles when it comes to expressing the fears and other emotions that they are supposed to feel. Kathryn Hahn, while hardly present, provides a quirky mother performance that she easily sells, but also does a good job of the more emotional moments. She does come off a realistic mom more often than not. As for the grandparents, it is Deanna Dunagan that provides the best performance of the whole cast. She can play the sweet and innocent Nana one moments and instantly change

character into the terrifying old woman who creeps around at night and displays uneasy vacant expressions. Peter McRobbie does well with the role of Pop Pop, but he isn’t given as much to do as Dunagan, which is rather unfortunate because I feel he had the ability to do more. The Visit is a film that will divide people. I do not think it was horrible by any means, but I do feel that M. Night Shyamalan should have decided what he really wanted the film to be. And to me it would have worked better as a horror movie with just traces of horror. Instead it just becomes an awkward mess that left me unsure of just what I was supposed to feel. And despite the unlikability of the two children, they, and the rest of the cast, especially our two senior actors, do a standout job.

–Cody Landman

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Slasher Studios Exclusive: “Dismembering Christmas” DVD Preorder

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The wait is finally over, DVD fans! Earlier this week we started our preorder for our limited edition, hand numbered Dismembering Christmas Blu-ray and now we have the DVD for preorder as well. For those of you going to Horrorhound Weekend this week, you will be given the first chance to get your bloody hands on a dvd. Everyone else, DVDs will start shipping the first week of October in time for the October 13th release date.

Three options for preorder! We have the DVD for $15, the DVD with 11×17 poster for $20, or the DVD with poster & full length soundtrack for $25. Get yours today and get in the Christmas carnage spirit!

Extras include:
Audio commentary with Actor/Director Austin Bosley
Audio commentary with Writer/Producer Kevin Sommerfield
Cast/Crew Bloopers
Fly on the Set: Making Of Dismembering Christmas
Theatrical Trailer
Teaser Trailer


Dismembering Christmas DVD




Slasher Studios Exclusive: Dismembering Christmas Blu-Ray Preorder

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The wait is finally over! Our limited edition, hand numbered Dismembering Christmas Blu-ray is now available for preorder. Only 300 of these bad boys will ever be made, so here’s your chance to snag a piece of slasher history. After the backers/cast & crew, we have less than 100 left already. Blu-rays will start shipping the week of October 13th. Please note that these will be first come, first served and we cannot guarantee we will have any blu-rays left after the preorder has ended.

Three options for preorder! We have the limited edition blu-ray for $20, the limited edition blu-ray with 11×17 poster for $25, or the limited edition blu-ray with poster & full length soundtrack for $30. Get yours today and get in the Christmas carnage spirit.

Extras Include:
Audio commentary with Actor/Director Austin Bosley
Audio commentary with Writer/Producer Kevin Sommerfield
Behind-the-scenes documentary with exclusive clips (only available on bluray)
Bloopers
Fly on the Set: Making Of Dismembering Christmas
Interview with Writer/Producer Kevin Sommerfield (only available on bluray)
Theatrical Trailer
Teaser Trailer


Dismembering Christmas Blu-Ray




Movie Poster Fridays: The House of the Devil (2009)

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Last time on Horror Movie Poster Fridays, I discussed the classic Gremlins and Gremlins 2: The New Batch. This time, we’re covering the best 70s horror film to be made in 2009.

The House of the Devil is full of rare traits for modern horror films: first of all, it’s shot on 16mm film to emulate the look of 1970s horror which is a genius decision. It also takes a slower approach to the story to build tension and dread. With a budget of just under $1 million, Ti West accomplishes something that lots of big budget films don’t. The beautiful style and effortlessly likable characters (fan favorite Megan comes to mind) make this little gem my favorite horror movie of the 2000s.

Today, I’m going over some of the beautiful posters this film has (whether official or unofficial).

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Art credit: Unknown

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Art credit: Robert Armstrong

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Art credit: Thomas Hodge

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Art credit: Unknown

Check back next time for an all new Horror Movie Poster Fridays.

–Noah Nicholas Nelson

80’s Style Slasher: “Lost After Dark” (2015) Review

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During the night of their school dance, a group of teens decide to ditch. In the process, they steal a school bus and take it to find a new place to party. Along for the ride is the shy Adrienne (Kendra Leigh Timmins) who joins to group to get close to her crush Sean (Justin Kelly) along with his crew. During the joy ride, the bus breaks down and the group finds themselves stranded. When they venture to a nearby farmhouse, they cross paths with a vicious killer they know from an urban legend.

Lost After Dark is directed and written by newcomer Ian Kessner, whom brings his first full length film after a handful of short films. There is no question about it that Kessner is a major fan of the genre and was hell-bent on bringing a throwback film to 80s slashers that works. And it sure as hell works. For starters, the production value screams 80s in the most perfect way possible and features aspects of grind house pictures as well. Granted one aspect involving a “missing reel” did leave me a little disappointed as far as continuity for the scene and the character. The story itself is also very 80s slasher style, but it blends the terror of both 80s horror and the horror of today to make it appeal to both. However, I will say it will only appeal to huge horror fans who are exposed to more than just today’s modern horror. The characters themselves couldn’t be more stereotypical if it tried. And this isn’t a bad thing, because it is extremely self-aware of this fact, and not only does Kessner own this, but so do the actors. We have our straight A good girl, the kind hearted jock, the feisty but kind best friend, the dim-witted blonde, her asshole boyfriend, the token black guy, the pitiful geek, and the rebellious girl. Each actor really sells their role as the stereotypes, albeit a little over-the-top at moments, but those moments just add more comedy to the story.

The cast also plays off of each other really well and seem to be having a great time with it. Also worth mentioning is Robert Patrick as the teens’ Vice Principle who delivers a top-notch and very funny performance as the disgruntled but determined authority figure and steals every scene he’s in. When the story gets going it doesn’t let go, it perfectly builds up and gives plenty of room between kills. And I have to say, the kills in this were fantastic and gory, very pleasing to slasher fans. The killer at hand here, Junior Joad, is pretty terrifying, not only in his appearance but also that he shows no mercy whatsoever. He’s a cold blooded killing machine. I very much got a Texas Chain Saw Massacre/Friday the 13th vibe from Junior and the whole story. Now, my favorite aspect of the film was that it does an EXCELLENT job pulling the rug from under the viewer. Kessner perfectly executes the ability to leave us guessing just who will come out alive. Everyone is an easy target, and anyone could potentially make it out. This is what sets is apart from many slashers, it has the stereotypical elements, but it gets flipped in the most unexpected ways. Finally, there is the excellent use of location. The farmhouse and the lands/woods around is very eerie and it uses all of the locations around to its advantage.

Lost After Dark is the perfect throwback to 80s slashers while also bringing something new to the table. Everything that’s supposed to be cheesy and predictable about it works so much in its favor. The director/writer and the cast knew what they had in front of them and definitely knew what do with it. It’s easily one of the best slasher films I’ve seen in a long time. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its faults either that trip it on occasions.

–Cody Landman

3.5